Saturday, August 25, 2012

Joey DeFrancesco Wonderful! Wonderful! HighNote 2012

When Joey DeFrancesco plays he bleeds passion. Joey D. bangs it out with such soul that for this critic his tunes can touch your heart, set your hair on fire and make your musical back leg shake all most at the exact same time. I dig this guy so much! I love the B3 and Joey DeFrancesco has gone from a debut as a 17 year old in 1989 to perhaps the most respected B3 player on the planet. Easy to see why... 

DeFrancesco has played an important role in the renewed interest of the organ trio and here we find a stellar trio rounded out with Larry Coryell on guitar and Jimmy Cobb and drums. Coryell's clean single note articulation is a perfect compliment to DeFrancesco's rich harmonic drive all while drummer Jimmy Cobb isn't just playing in the pocket - he is the pocket.

There is a definite respect for the roots of the organ trio with tunes like "Wonderful Wonderful" and his own riff on "Wagon Wheels" which Sonny Rollins knocked out of the park on his "Way Out West" release. Most people forget DeFrancesco can take the blues into a totally new realm with imaginative soul and a harmonic feel that hits you on the visceral and cerebral levels. "Solitude" is a perfect example of a blues infused wonder and Coryell is on his hip the entire time. The subtle nuances of Cobb and his cymbal work just below the surface of DeFrancesco and Coryell's solos brings a whole new texture of swing to the party. "Love Letters" shows the trios ability to shift dynamics on the fly without ever losing the harmonic direction. A most harmonious trio completing one anothers musical thoughts. The closing burner is "JLJ" which is a high octane blues infused swing party that never lets up. Coryell is magnificent here and again Cobb swings like a beast. Having reviewed maybe a dozen organ trios this year, Wonderful Wonderful moves to the head of the pack with ease.

When Joey DeFrancesco was 17 he toured with Miles Davis during his Amandla period of the late 1980's and this was the inspiration to pick up the trumpet. This is another fact about Joey a great many writers forget, he can work it out on trumpet as well as the B3. DeFrancesco is a musical freak of nature. Performer, composer, B3, trumpet and occasional vocalist, there is very very little Joey D. can not do incredibly well.

Arguably this would be DeFrancesco's best trio to date but there can be no argument it is one of the best releases for 2012. Joey DeFrancesco lives his passion, I just write about it...

Tracks: Wonderful! Wonderful; Five Spot After Dark; Wagon Wheels; Solitude; Joey D.; Love Letters; Old Folks; JLJ Blues.

Personnel: Joey DeFrancesco: organ & trumpet; Larry Coryell: guitar; Jimmy Cobb: drums.